Tag: Yankees

STATurday: Smart Spending

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Glove with money
Money Ball?

Last week, Businessweek published a fun tool for calculating what they call an “efficiency index.” This is what there using to figure out how much a team spends per win and how that compares to the league average. They are taking into account playoff and championship wins as a multiplier value compared to regular season wins. That multiplier is what you can adjust. You can set it to only show a single league, say MLB, and start increasing the value of post-season wins. Watch as the Marlins plummet from the top as the Yankees begin their climb.

Check it out: Smartest Spenders in Sports 2014

[Business Day One] Incendiary Comments


Chew on these, America.

–I hope Charlie Weis stays as Notre Dame’s coach for the rest of his tenure. As a Boston College alum, I’m thrilled that the Eagles have outplayed and outcoached the Irish in each season during the big guy’s tenure. Charlie Weis for Six More Years!

–I’m at a point where I don’t believe any signing the Yankees will make this offseason will result in an AL East title.

–The New York Giants are going back to the Super Bowl. Plaxico Burress will not be on the team.

–I’m getting this feeling like Crosby and Ovechkin just aren’t as charismatic as the NHL wants them to be.

–Somewhere, right now, Al Davis is building a mountain fortress.

[Business Day One] Wrecking Ball

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I didn’t make it to Yankee Stadium this year, and I didn’t feel too terrible about it. I’m not going to miss the Stadium for the same reason I don’t miss houses I once lived in. When you pack up your things and drive it somewhere else, you are saying goodbye to where you once were. Home is where the heart (or your team) is, not where it once was.

The new Yankee Stadium, for all of its behind-the-scenes illegality (whoops!), is going to be a heck of a place to watch a ballgame. Hopefully, it won’t smell like a urinal and have a limited selection of disgusting food like the old Yankee Stadium. Yes, the old one has countless amazing, culturally significant moments spread over decades and viewed by millions. But, well, the building’s being demolished. And a new one is almost done next door, and it’ll be fantastic. It will be a place of mystique and wonder, that will breed countless Yankee fans for the next 50 years.

I think it’d be a greater tribute to my favorite team to go to that stadium and buy a $15 seat than scramble into the old stadium for one last $12 seat.

[Business Day One] The Pavano Grudge


Sports fandom is filled with hatred. If you love a team enough, you hate that team’s rival. Really, truly hate. Irrationally hate. Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins fans hate each other and have for a long while. Ohio State and Michigan fans hate each other because of how intertwined their storied histories are. India and Pakistan cricket fans hated each other… due mainly to decades of horrific war. Such is the way of sport, really. We give ourselves so willingly and so fully to our club that anything that attemps to defame or diminish it becomes the target of our burning rage.

I consider this a price. Fandom isn’t free. You need to invest a lot in it – money, time, love, and hate. Only when you are fully invested in this way can you truly experience the impossible highs and devastating lows that sport was created to evoke. I do my best to keep this in mind when I discuss my intense hatred of Carl Pavano.

Carl Pavano, the Yankees’ 4 year, $40 million dollar mistake, just pitched in (and won) his first Major League game in over a year. And I couldn’t be more disgusted. I hate Pavano. I hate him as much as I hate Manny Ramirez. I hate his attitude (poor), his health (awful), and what he represents (the blind spending of the early 2000s Yankees). He is a great weight hanging around the neck of the organization – a reminder to the owners and the fans that mistakes like him have given us nearly a decade without a championship. I wish I could direct some of this hatred outward, away from my Yankees, but I can’t. Everything that is wrong with how that team did business is encapsulated in one man, fairly or unfairly.

In my mind, Carl Pavano has been worse for the Yankees playoff chances than any other player on any other team. Accordingly, I have a Pavano Grudge. And I know I’m not the only one.

If there can be a lesson taken out of this, I suppose it would be that it is alright to hate something in sports. We’re all imperfect humans, and our body gives off a lot of hate. So we might as well direct it at something harmless, like a wretched, consistently injured jerk. Like Carl Pavano.

[Business Day One] They Run

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Before I get into this, let me just start by saying that I hate Hank Steinbrenner . I think he embarrasses himself, shames the Yankees, and humiliates fans. He’s like a belligerent uncle, cornering nieces and nephews at a family barbecue and screaming at them to study accounting because “there’s good *hiccup* money in it, you idiots.” You can go to hell, you laughable, craggy-faced bastard. Go to hell.

Whew, glad I got that out of my system.

Anyway, down to business. It’s a great day for a Boston Marathon . The sun is just starting to crack the cloud cover, the temperature is around fifty degrees and the elite runners are already. I was going to talk about the marathon last year, but I was derailed by a string of horribly unfair injuries to the Yankees pitching staff . This year, the only thing wrong with the Bombers is the loud mouthed ownership, so I can go about my duties unhindered.

I lived on Commonwealth Avenue during my final two years of college . As a junior, I watched it from a second floor apartment just past Heartbreak Hill, and as a senior I kept an eye on it as I was walking Marathon Finish back to campus from a job interview downtown. The atmosphere along the marathon route is a very strange kind of electric. Everyone is cheering, more or less nonstop, for the entire duration of the race. The moment runners get into view, hoots and hollers go up and stay up. Once the main packs start passing, there is a long, sustained cheer that just doesn’t let up. Sure, people will take a break to enjoy a sausage or drink some oddly non-clear liquid from a water bottle, but there’s this feeling in the crowd that most of them need to be cheering at any given point. There’s an unspoken agreement between the throngs that line the road; the runners are doing the hart part, so we have to at least do the easy part. If you are a runner, this great luminous timepiece will be you number one accessory.

Boston is paradise for a sports fan. You can join the Mardi Gras-esque party crowds for the 81 Red Sox home games per year. You can enjoy the hats and gloves all day tailgate at Gillette Stadium. You can see the entire population of Western Mass. at a Bruins game and all of the obscenely knowledgeable homers at a Celtics game. Something for everybody, really. Four distinct crowds, four distinct vibes. But the Marathon is so unique because it brings together so many things. It combines the picnic feel of an afternoon in Foxboro with the pastoral relaxation of a PawSox game. You get the lamp-lighting surges of joy, and the moments where the crowd wills their team to make a hard stand. If you want to research fan behavior, go see a Boston Marathon. You’ll get everything good about sport in one stop.

Enjoy race day, everyone. Don’t stop cheering. They’re not going to stop running.

[Business Day One] Spring In The Empire


Here are the exciting storylines I get to deal with as a Yankees fan this spring:

-Andy Pettitte looked decent in his Spring Training Debut, despite having to fly back and forth to Washington, DC for steroid and HGH investigation related issues.

-Lying blowhard Hank Steinbrenner descended further into self-parody after being forcibly inducted into Red Sox Nation by Boston owner John Henry.

-A bizarre cult has developed around Joba Chamberlain, a pitcher with 24 innings of professional experience.

-Yankees fans are beginning to realize how close we actually came to losing Robinson Cano and sweating at night thinking about it.

-Fans are expecting Michelle Damon to be more productive than Johnny Damon in 2008.

So this is what I’m dealing with.  Let’s Go Yanks.

Exceptional Exemption

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More than once in the last few months I’ve heard someone ask, “What business does Congress have investigating steroid and HGH use in Major League Baseball?” And while I agree that it’s stupid, and a waste of time (and possibly wrong), there is precedent.

Not everyone knows that Major League Baseball has a special exemption to the Sherman Antitrust Act, the 1890 law that governs how inter-state businesses may conduct themselves without being prosecuted as monopolies. MLB is a monopoly. They have wielded that power explicitly in the past, most famously to prevent players from separating themselves from teams and to prevent teams from moving to different cities.

There’s no actual law on the books that says, “Major League Baseball is exempt from antitrust regulations,” but there’s the next best thing: eighty years of court precedent. In 1922, Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the majority opinion on Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore vs. National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, saying that the “interstate commerce clause” didn’t technically govern interstate travel to play away games. The exemption was upheld in 1953 (Toolson v. New York Yankees), when the Supreme Court said that “Congress had no intention of including the business of baseball within the scope of the federal antitrust laws.”

So Major League Baseball lives in a special legal pocket. Is that the only thing getting Congress’ attention?

Not quite. Almost all MLB teams and stadiums reap the rewards of sweetheart deals with local politicians. The New York Yankees have been deducting five million dollars a year from their taxes since 2001. Tampa Bay’s no longer getting a sixty million dollar sales tax refund on their new stadium, but they’re still hoping the state of Florida will sell them the new land at a discount. Breaks like these always come in the name of “creating jobs” (out of what? fairy dust and wishes?) or “revitalizing” a particular neighborhood.

All politics is local, as Tip O’Neill famously observed, and he was Speaker of the House. A member of Congress answers to their constituents. They answer to the local party machine: the neighborhood wards that run their campaign ads and put up their posters. So the state of Arizona’s investment in the Diamondbacks gives John McCain an interest, justified or not, in how MLB conducts its affairs.

Finally, recall that the President becomes the de facto pace-setter of the party he represents. Recall also that the Republicans controlled Congress for years, even if they’re no longer the majority, so they have most of the plum committee seats. And above all else, recall that the current President is the former owner of the Texas Rangers. If that doesn’t tell you enough about Congress’s interest in baseball, then go back to reading the funny pages.

Send Me Questions Too!


Since I’m a no-good, unimaginative hack, I am going to take the same questions Serpico answered, and answer them myself. This isn’t the first time I’ve done something like this. But before I get into the letters, I have to get something off of my chest.

The New York Football Giants are a terrible football team. Ever since Serpico was a wee lad, the giants have been terrible. Remember in 1995 when the Patriots were terrible. They were a 6-10 team, but the Giants were worse — 5-11. Or how about 1997 when both the Patriots and the Giants won their respective divisions. The Giants were worse due to losing in the wild card round.

All I’m saying is that Serpico doesn’t like terrible teams — He actually stopped caring about baseball when the Yankees didn’t have the best record in baseball this year. How can I prove it? He had to email me on the deadline to fix his fantasy baseball lineup for a playoffs week. So I have an answer for Serpico: Follow the Patriots. You are a fair weather fan and we all know it. Just find the biggest band wagon, grab your instrument, and hop on.

Now for the actual questions. Read More